Ginger Crunch

ground ginger

Origins of recipes are often funny and some of the stories are doozies. Many are found in more traditional places, like handed over from friends and relatives, some are found in cookbooks, and others are our own creations. Then there are those that come from who-knows-where, such as the one I found on a men’s room wall.

And then there’s this one, which got handed to me during a book event and meet-up that I had in Paris when a lovely woman from New Zealand gave me a tube of Vegemite, along with a photocopy of the recipe, saying it was amazing. (Interesting that she said the recipe was amazing, but when she gave me the Vegemite, she only followed that with a hearty chuckle.)

ginger slice recipe ingredients

At the time I thanked her and put it in my bag, then it was transferred to my kitchen counter where it rested amongst a pile of papers that is optimistically called “recipes to try.” It languished there for, oh, maybe eight months, until I picked it up and gathered all the ingredients to make it. Then I promptly put them in the pan and placed them in a corner, where they languished together for another few months. Until I finally decided it was time to try it.

ginger slice dough

When I was in Australia, I was delighted by all the “slices” on offer, which are available at coffee shops and bakeries, such as caramel crunch, and their distant relative, Lamingtons. This ginger crunch is pretty simple to put together, although reading through the recipe, I thought about dialing up the spices, which I’m sure folks in Australia and New Zealand would approve of because they seem to like their food highly seasoned – as do I. But then I tasted the slices and realized they were right on the mark.

To all the folks out there wondering what they can use in place of the golden syrup, I’m both happy and sorry to say, that there’s nothing else similar. The reason I’m sorry is that you have to hunt some down – many well-stocked grocers have it, or you can find it online. But I’m happy to say that you’ll be thrilled to have that little green-and-gold tin in your life because once you taste it, you’ll wonder how you lived without golden syrup in your life before.

pressing dough for ginger slice

The original recipe called for a 20 x 30 centimeter “Lamington” pan, which – as much as I like Lamingtons – I didn’t feel like ordering from New Zealand. (Which is probably the only time in my life that I couldn’t justify buying a new piece of bakeware.) So I used a rectangular French tart pan, because I live in France and I’m trying to support my local tart pan makers. You could use an 8-inch (20cm) square cake pan in its place.

When I first bit down on one, it was somewhat familiar, but it so different from any other kind of bar cookie I know of. The base is crumbly and crisp, with the characteristics of a good shortbread, but with a firmness and crunch that pairs beautifully with the buttery, spicy topping. The word “addictive” comes to mind. And if it wasn’t for the 30-hour plane ride, I’d be making plans to go to New Zealand to try more “slices.”

So to that lovely woman who brought the recipe all the way to me, a big thanks and I’m glad I finally got around to making it. You were right!

Vegemite

As for that tube of Vegemite? I’m getting around to that soon. Uh, I promise…

Ginger Crunch
18 to 24 bar cookies


A little sleuthing revealed that the recipe I was given was perhaps from, or inspired by, the Ginger Crunch recipe from a cookbook produced Edmonds, a New Zealand company which produces baking powder. The Edmonds Cookery Book was first published in 1908.

I used a 13- by 4-inch (34cm x 10cm) rectangular tart pan but one could use another pan of similar dimensions. Such as an 8-inch (20cm) square cake pan or a 20 x 30 centimeter rectangular pan, which the original recipe called for. If using a cake pan, one neat trick is to line the bottom with a wide piece of foil leaving an overhang over the sides of the pan, then smoothing the sides and buttering the inside. Once the bars are finished, you should be able to lift the foil (and the bars) from the pan easily.

The dough may take a bit of coaxing to bring it together. If necessary, dampen your hands and knead the dough until it comes together. (It doesn’t need to be perfect.) Transfer the dough to the pan and use the heel of your hand to press it evenly into the bottom. Even if you think it looks goofy when patting it down, it will bake up nice and flaky.


Cookie base

  • 4 1/2 ounces (9 tablespoons, 125g) unsalted butter, room temperature (it should be very soft)
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar (100g)
  • 1 1/2 cup (210g) flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground dried ginger

Icing
2 1/2 ounces (5 tablespoons, 75g) butter, salted or unsalted
2 tablespoons golden syrup (see Note)
3/4 cup (90g) powdered sugar
1 tablespoon ground dried ginger

1. Preheat the oven to 375ºF (190ºC.) Butter a 13-inch rectangular tart pan or another pan (see headnote.)

2. In the bowl of a stand mixer, or by hand in a large bowl, make the cookie base by creaming the butter with the sugar until very light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, and 1 1/2 teaspoons ginger.

3. Mix the dry ingredients into the creamed butter mixture until well-combined. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured countertop and knead it until the dough is relatively smooth.

(If necessary, dampen your hands to add a bit of moisture to the dough, if it’s dry.)

4. Press the dough into the prepared pan and flatted the surface, then bake the dough for 20 minutes, until it’s light golden brown.

5. Five minutes before the dough is done, making the icing by heating the 2 1/2 ounces of butter and golden syrup in a small pan, then mix in the powdered sugar and 1 tablespoon ginger, stirring until smooth.

6. When you take the pan out of the oven, pour the warm icing over the cookie base. Let sit for about 20 to 30 minutes, then remove from the pan and slice while still slightly warm.

Note: The only substitutions I could imagine that might work for this recipe might be honey, since it has the same viscosity to golden syrup. Rice syrup is another possibility. If you do try it with another liquid sweetener, please share your results in the comments.



Related Recipes

Fruitcake Bars

Lamingtons

Chocolate-Caramel Slice (Rhid-Baked)

Date Bars

Peanut Butter-Chocolate Slice (Chocolate Suze)

169 comments

  • David, so thrilled you have brought this classic piece of Kiwi baking to a global audience. We call it Ginger Crunch and it’s found in every cafe, whether hipster or homely, across Aotearoa. The Edmonds Cookbook version is all well and good, but these days you’re more likely to find it with an extra-thick layer of icing, like this one: http://kitchen-maid.blogspot.co.nz/2011/06/sweet-sweet-friday-spicy-ginger-crunch.html?m=1

    Bonne annee,

    Lucy

    • Hi Lucy: Yes, I saw it’s referred to in the recipe as Ginger Crunch, but have seen bar cookies and cake-like confections such as this referred to as “slices.” (I saw one labeled as “Ginger Crunch Slice”!) I waffled on the title of the post and recipe (…as sharp-eyed folks can see from the URL and I did go back and forth) then settled back on “crunch” as I yield to you and the folks of New Zealand, who apparently have been keeping this recipe hidden from the rest of the world for so long ; )

  • You can actually make golden syrup aka invert no 1. at home. Warning there is some slight swearing on this brewing site.
    http://www.unholymess.com/blog/beer-brewing-info/making-brewers-invert

  • So nice to see a Kiwi recipe on your site. I had a wee laugh about the Golden Syrup, really it is an everyday item here. Now your Northern readers will know how we feel when we see a recipe with Light Corn Syrup (and there are many of them) as that item is virtually unavailable in New Zealand. Cheers to one and all for a bright New Year

    Regards

    Phread

  • David, Referring back to your teriaki chicken post a few weels ago. The recipe says to cover the chicken and cook 6 minutes. Did you use the panini press cover that comes with the LeCreuset square grill pan or use a regular lid? Thanks.

  • If it weren’t midnight here, I’d be in my kitchen making these right now. I have all the ingredients, and I have a long tart pan that I have never used. They sound wonderful. I’m pretty sure I’ll be making them tomorrow, if I can get any sleep now that I’ll be thinking about them all night.

  • Hi David

    Vegemite will keep for years so no need to worry about it going off. The best way to use it is on toast with butter. You only need to spread it thinly though.

    I’m sure some of your other Aussie readers will let you know other uses for our wonderful national product!

    Cheers

  • You had me at vegemite…
    If you don’t fancy eating it on toast with lots of butter (Mmmm!) my bf made a roast lamb rub with sea salt, cracked pepper, garlic, rosemary, olive oil and vegemite for our Christmas dinner. It was delicious, but then again, I am from Australia.
    Golden syrup is available at the E.Leclerc supermarket we shop at in the new So Ouest commercial centre. Although, Marks & Spencer is out there, too, which stock it, also.

  • As for that poor tube of Vegemite indeed ☺. Vogel’s (grainy) toast, (thin, very thin) slick of Vegemite topped with … ginger marmalade or mashed banana or honey or tomatoes … best lunch on a home day. Seriously though, I don’t think I’d try this at home with a baguette. So now you have another reason to visit us: Vogel’s bread. Only in New Zealand!

  • Phred + Lauren: I buy (and stock up on) golden syrup when I go to England because it’s so cheap there. Still, even when I’ve bought it in the US (or France), it’s really worth it because it adds that certain flavor that’s hard to replicate.

    Ryan: Thanks. That’s a pretty technical site/recipe, so I think I’ll keep buying mine – but good to know for others that might want to take a try at it.

    Megan: I didn’t know there was a panini cover for that pan (which I think I need to investigate…) – I just used a regular lid from another pan. But pressing down would give them nice grill marks.

  • Another way to get rid of, I mean use, vegemite is with spaghetti. http://easilygoodeats.blogspot.se/2012/11/vegemite-garlic-spaghetti-recipe.html
    The vegemite aroma and flavour is subtle. Italians won’t approve though.

  • There is nothing greater in all existence than Vegemite with butter on white toast.

  • A recipe with this much ginger has to be good. Can’t wait to try it.

  • Looks (and certainly smells) delicious! :)

  • Vegemite thinly spread on buttered toast (I find white is best, but a sourdough is also great) is one of the best breakfasts ever.
    My mum sometimes adds a teaspoon of Vegemite to gravy for a bit of an umami hit. Fabulous.

  • Bonne année “Daveed”. Je vous ai vu a la télé ce matin 3 janvier sur NBC discutant sur les frites, français ou belge? En tout cas, c’était cool. Bonne journée.

  • Oh this looks lovely, i’m Australian but have never heard of it, with my new food love for ginger flavoured biscuits (thanks to your gingersnaps recipe) I just might try it! As for the Vegemite, I’m not too keen on it however it does taste pretty good if you smother a lot of butter on your bread and the tiniest smudge of Vegemite!

    With e golden syrup, it makes me chuckle just a little that it’s something you guys have to seek out! It’s so cheap and readily available here! Guess that’s what it’s like for us seeing recipes with corn syrup! I just can’t imagine some things without it, mainly caramel slice!

  • There is no way this would work with honey or rice syrup, in my opinion!

  • Ha, right until I got to the recipe proper, I assumed it included Vegemite in it! (Marmite is better, by the way, but as a Brit I would say that! ;-)
    Looks delicious!
    Happy New Year, David!

  • Here in San Diego, you can find Lyle’s Golden Syrup at Whole Foods, World Imports, and the UK Cornershoppe among other locations. It comes in a tin, a glass jar, OR a plastic container.
    Indispensable for pecan pie in my opinion. I use this recipe: http://www.travelerslunchbox.com/journal/2008/11/24/perfect-pecan-pie.html

  • Random comment, I just caught you on the Today show! Cool little segment on les frites, also your kitchen looks awesome!

  • Wow! I can’t wait to make these–anything with ginger makes my heart sing. Thank you for the recipe.
    I don’t have golden syrup in the pantry, but I’ll check my local stores. Would agave syrup possibly be a good substitute? I recently used it in place of honey in a recipe.

  • What an intriguing recipe. Can’t wait to try it! Though like you it will probably be months by the time I actually do. Good luck with the Vegemite. I was so excited to finally try it when I went to Australia. I was even more excited when we made a morning pit stop to McDonald (don’t judge!) and found them languishing with the other condiments! Then I tried it with buttered toast…yuck!! Never again..

  • I made the same assumption Kavey did and thought the biscuits would have Vegemite in them. Glad they don’t. Am off to my grocer’s to pick up a can of Lyle’s Golden Syrup so I can bake up a batch of non-Vegemite Ginger Biscuits.

  • Ginger crunch is a childhood favourite…..only surpassed by a cafe in Wellington NZ which puts a generous layer of caramel between the base and the icing. Yay Fidels!!!! And you can use treacle instead of golden syrup, although that may be equally elusive?

  • A recipe like this was in Gourmet (which I still sorely miss) maybe ten Christmas seasons ago. It was identified as Skibo Castle Ginger Crunch and David is right – addictive is the only word for it. I made to include in cookie tins for friends, but they got very little of this particular one. I’ve made it every year since, except for this one since I was traveling. Time to get out the Lyle’s.

  • frites – francaises ou belges? Where can I see I clip of that interview?

    Belgian-born, but US-raised, I have always bristled at the term “French fries” … where do you stand on that issue, David?

  • Hi David – I am so glad to see you are as big fan of Golden Syrup as I am – I love how it tastes buttery! This recipe looks intriguingly delicious and it is now on my optimistic list of recipes to try – Happy New Year!

  • Caught your segment on NBC ch.4 NYC this morning. Looks like your gorgeous new kitchen was worth the agita. Congratulations on your more or less new digs. As for Golden Syrup, it can be found at Whole Foods.

  • I have been making these for years – especially at Christmas. I add some finely chopped crystallized ginger to perk them up a little.

  • My pal Isobel Tanaka shared her recipe of Ginger Crunch years ago and it was a huge go-to favorite until I made it one too many times. I like that hers has a big salt component for balance and spark. These days I (and all of my friends) have been in love with Alice Medrich’s ginger snaps but this post has sent me back to my lost days. Ginger crunch is looking to be made again.

    Isobel’s recipe for shortbread: 125g unsalted butter, 125g granulated sugar, 200g flour, 1 tsp powdered ginger, 1 tsp baking powder, 1 tsp salt (or maybe I am the one that boosted the salt!!).

    icing: 56g unsalted butter, 75g powdered sugar, 1 Tbsp Lyle’s Golden Syrup, 2 tsp powdered ginger, 1/4 tsp salt

  • David–I love this recipe. I am gluten intolerant and will give it a whirl using a GF flour blend. I’m pretty certain the cookie base will come together very well.
    Here in Texas there is a bakery that makes a similar bar, but uses a butterscotch type topping (it may be the golden syrup; I’ve never asked them specifically). The bakery then covers that topping with chocolate, refrigerates the concoction, and slices it into bars. They put the dark, bitter chocolate on top and call the bar a Galaxy because it is out of this world!

    I think your cookie could add that as an adaptation. While the cookie does not need to be refrigerated completely, it holds them best until serving. The flavors emerge better when served at room temperature.

    • I think you could make these gluten-free relatively easily. I might suggest some corn flour (or very fine cornmeal) to get that “crunch” that makes them so tasty. Good luck..and enjoy!

    • Hi Laura, that “galaxy” bar is called caramel slice downunder :)

  • Hi David,

    Happy New YEar.

    A big thanks for the free Pastry shops in Paris app. It’s sitting on my IPad ready to be put to use the next time I am in Paris.

  • I ordered Lyle’s golden Syrup from King Arthur Flour company as part of my Christmas gift to myself along with their Flori di Sicilia, which I have been wanting to try for a long time. Didn’t know why I ordered the Golden Syrup except it was featured in the new BBC series, Upstairs Downstairs. The cook told the Butler to get some while he was out because she was going to make a cake with it. So now I will make your Ginger Crunch. Thanks for inspiring me and thanks for bringing Paris to my inbox each week.
    Sue

  • Vegemite is like English Marmite, and there is nothing better when recovering from the collywobbles to have a scrape of it on thin toast. I grew up with Tate & Lyle’s Golden Syrup, and it was a forbidden after school treat to take a spoon and wind it around in the syrup to get a sugar rush. It is easily available here in southern California, and a stock item in my pantry.

  • Looks wonderful. So this is just ground spice ginger in a jar nothing fancier.
    Did you ever try putting some crystallized ginger in the dough. I will make this tonight. I have an oval ceramic baker that might work for size and give it some curvy edges.
    Thanks for all your great recipes. Did I miss a photo tour of your kitchen somewhere, I’d love to see how the reno turned out. Do you ever visit Cambridge (MA) when you come to the East Coast.?

  • i can confirm that these are sublime! i’ve made them with regular light corn syrup, and they were still delicious (though they lack some of the depth of flavour that lyle’s gives). lyle’s is definitely worth seeking out, but its absence isn’t a deal-breaker for me.

  • Hi David – Happy 2013. Can I use Maple syrup?

  • These sound lovely and I’ve got all the ingredients so if I break my resolution today it will be all your fault. :)

    BTW, in the US, or at least in Denver, I can find golden syrup at World Market.

  • I can’t wait to try this! I love all things ginger, and it’s exciting that it came from the Edmonds Cookery Book. I’m from the States, but my family is from NZ, and when I moved out of my parents’ house for my first apartment, they handed me the well-worn Edmonds book that they brought with them from NZ in the 60s. There are some really great classic baking recipes there that I still make today. Can’t say I’ve tried the ginger slice, so I’m going to give this a go.

  • I’m down for ginger anything – can’t wait to give it a go. As for the spread… I haven’t had Vegemite in ages, but I do enjoy – thinly spread – Marmite with peanut butter (don’t knock it until you’ve had it!), maybe you could give it a go?

  • I have an old hand written recipe from my mother which she called Ginger Shortbread. I have just checked and it’s the same as this apart from having no baking powder in it. She died in 1988, so the recipe pre-dates this and could even go back to the 70’s. She often used Good Housekeeping recipes ( from the British magazine ) which is where I think she found it originally. I will make some soon now I have been reminded of it. Thanks for that….

  • I haven’t made these yet, but in other recipes I’ve substituted half molasses and half corn syrup for the golden syrup, with decent results.

    • That’s what I was thinking, though here in BC I can get golden syrup easily enough.

  • Yum! Will try. Btw saw you on the Today show
    this morning. Didn’t know you were a French fry expert as well…

  • Vegemite is fantastic used in stocks and soups, especially vegetarian ones as it adds a great depth of flavor and backbone. This is the only use my American husband has ever had for Vegemite, and that’s ok because the idea of a PBJ sandwich turns my stomach as much as the idea of a vegemite sandwich does for my husband.

  • As a ginger myself, I am up for anything ginger so am salivating already. And yes, thanks for the aps and notices of readings. I forward them to friends in Paris and wish I could be there with you all.

  • Hi David!

    Happy New Year! Happy Cooking! I love your articles; so interesting – also the recipes! I was delighted to see your tin of Tate and Lyle syrup on display – I’m from the U.K. which is where it originates (am now living in the USA) and it’s delish in anything from oatmeal to cookies; anyone can order it at British shops online – I’m lucky enough to have a shop quite nearby which stocks it in the international isle but it’s easy to get:)
    Thank you for your lovely and informative blog! I’ve been to Paris several times and never get tired of it – or of reading about your comments; some of which are really funny and true!

    Cheers! Mags x

  • That looks great. I found a recipe for ginger crunch (from Scotland/Ireland) elsewhere quite a while ago, I remember printing it out but I never got around to making it. Now it’s on the front burner once again, thank you. Same ingredients (with the addition of salt in the crust), but different proportions and made in a larger (9×13″) pan, so it would be much thinner. I suppose the recipe evolved differently “down under” and “up above.” I think some finely minced candied ginger might be nice in the topping, no? Would it burn? Lyle’s Golden Syrup is unique, I’ve used it in pecan pie instead of corn syrup, it really is something “other.”

  • David, I’m so happy to see you covering a kiwi classic. If you would like to explore Kiwi baking without the 30 hour flight, I highly reccomend the book “Ladies, a Plate” by Alexa Johnston. It’s a wonderful book and I was sorry to have to leave mine in NZ when I moved to the UK.

    Also, Johnston’s ginger crunch recipe is by far the best I have ever come across.

    http://www.ladiesaplate.co.nz/

  • hi david
    just saw you on NBC this morning on the today show!!
    all about the ‘french fries’ yum
    you were great!! perfecto!
    happy new year!
    paula

  • Vegemite is at its best on thick, crusty sourdough toast underneath some creamy avocado, sprinkle of black pepper, a squirt of lemon juice and some roasted pepitas, breakfast of kings!

  • I bought Steen’s cane syrup (made in the US) because Laurie Colwin wrote about it and I think it is pretty close to Golden Syrup.

  • First, thanks for the app- just had a friend buy it prior to his honeymoon over the holidays! Great timing as I am coming in Sept. for a visit!

    Second, as a yank married to a Brit, I was terrified the recipe included the Vegemite… Thank goodness not! Definitely an acquired taste for those not raised on it! I cant even bear the smell…

    Third, though, this recipe is a must do!

    And by the way, I am making the coconut cake for my friends birthday this week…. Hope you enjoy knowing someone is getting it for their birthday cake!!

  • What a fun conversation! I don’t have much of a sweet tooth, but I love ginger in any form, so this sounds delicious. I like the idea of adding very finely chopped candied ginger to the mix, for an extra crunnnchy blast of ginger.

    I was curious about Golden Syrup, as I’d never heard of it. If you’re a cane syrup lover, here’s something you can still order, although we’re not sure how much longer Steen’s will stay in business, even if it does have a cult following! http://www.steensyrup.com/Merchant2/products.html

    It has an unctuous buttery “something,” and a slight but distinctive bitter bite. It’s great on its own, but here are some interesting recipes: http://www.saveur.com/article/Kitchen/One-Ingredient-Many-Ways-Cane-Syrup

  • I like all things ginger so I’m marking this to try out. I don’t get Golden Syrup here, actually I do but its so expensive I can’t justify buying it to use a couple of times in a year!
    I have so far substitued honey for Golden Syrup, and it works so long as the recipe doesn’t ask for too much of it.

  • I’ve made the Gourmet version of this – Skibo Castle ginger crunch – and it is amazing. I cut it into smaller squares and add some finely minced crystallized ginger to the icing to just up the punch.

  • The cookies look delicious, but what really cracked me up, David, is how you got the ingredients together and set them aside for months. I do that all the time! My family ask me, “what’s this for?”, and “how long does this have to sit on the counter?”, and “is this still good?”. I’m glad I’m not alone!

  • Another Aussie here…vegemite gets a bad rap! As a vegan I tend to use it to make stews and casseroles richer and to add a depth of flavour that can be lacking with using vegetable stock. Think of it as the antipodean marmite and you are most of the way there except vegemite is like Aussies…bronzed, hard hitting, exciting and unable to be forgotten ;). You might not like it on toast (remember a TINY SMEAR for you novices accompanied by an enormous hunk of toast laden with butter ONLY butter…) but it really does enhance a stock base :)

  • I can’t wait to make the Ginger crunch cookies for my KIWI grandaughters.

    Thanks so much for the recipe!

  • Being raised by a Canadian mother, I grew up on Roger’s Golden Syrup. Every summer we would go up to Victoria BC to visit my grandmother and we always brought back a large bottle of Roger’s to enjoy throughout the year. You’re right that it’s worth tracking down, since it has a flavor like nothing else. Nowadays Lyle’s Golden Syrup is easily available in Seattle, and even though I know it tastes exactly the same, I still feel like Roger’s is the *only* acceptable brand. :-)

    One of my favorite recipes ever is a ginger sponge cake, steamed in a bowl rather than baked, and served with warm golden syrup drizzled over the top. Mmmm, maybe I need to make one this weekend…

  • these old fashioned styles are still much moved in Australia and New Zealand.

    Re the vegemite… pleaseeee, having an American living in Paris make any comment or even taste this national Australian icon, is more than I can stand. Vegemite is a secret weapon in my kitchen and shall remain a secret.

    Throw it away, you will hate it.

  • Bon Jour David, the NZ woman is moi!. It was lovely to meet you (and Heather) at the book signing and I’m absolutely thrilled you finally got to make the recipe. As mentioned above it is from the Edmonds Cookery Book – which is full of other slices such as Louise Cake etc. Your copy of the recipe is straight from the Edmonds Cookery Book (Edmonds was a brand of baking powder – rising agent).

    the Ginger CRUNCH recipe is brilliant the way it is in that all the ingredients are perfectly calibrated. There is another addictive slice called ‘Chinese Chew’. Will locate a recipe and send it to you.

    PS J’adore vegemite AND crunchy peanut butter and fresh tomatoes on toast for breakfast.

    • Jan! Thanks so much for passing this on. It was great to meet you and I hope some day to get the energy for the 30 hour plane trip!

      : )

      xx david

  • Hi David, am down under as we speak, if you want a lamington tray I can try and get you one and post it on my return to France? When you try the vegemite, promise me not to try it out of the tube. Get a lovely baguette, lashings of your best butter and a thin smear of vegemite and I promise you will be in heaven!

  • Also, David you should make time to go to New Zealand. The food there is incredible. Superb fish (snapper, blue cod, whitebait), fruit and vegetables – feijoas, tamarillos, kiwi fruit, NZ kumera (sweet potato), meat (lamb, venison), slices and icecream. And the wine….. especially the pinot noir.

    I, like lots of New Zealanders, live in Australia for work but just LOVE going home. The food is not as tricky and fusion orientated as in Australia (huge, sweeping generalisation) and the flavours are better IMHO. (Though, hey, I do like vegemite). The scenery is just awe inspiring and uplifting.

  • Delicious!

  • Vegemite gravy is awesome on hot chips, great for adding colour to a regular gravy, a nice addition to soups and out-of-this world on french and lebanese breads! And if you haven’t tried Vegemite caramel then I pity your soul ;)

    I have a very clear memory from when I was backpacking in 2009, and the hostel served baguettes instead of toast, sitting on the hostel steps eating baguettes and vegemite and thinking that my life was complete.

  • Ha, you’ve discovered our well-guarded secret! When a friend of mine immigrated to NZ from the the UK, she couldn’t believe she’d wasted half her life not eating ginger crunch. How funny to see such a homely item in your elegant tart pan! I’ve never heard of a lamington pan, though – slices are normally made in a swiss roll pan (same size different name) – not that that’s likely to help your search as it seems to be an Australasian-only item too. (How on earth does the rest of the world get by without slices?) There is also a delicious variant of ginger slice with an oat/coconut base – here’s a recipe:

    http://www.foodlovers.co.nz/recipes/takaka-oaty-ginger-crunch.html

    As for the Vegemite, she probably chuckled because it was Australian:). Proper Kiwi-version Marmite is currently unavailable here because the only factory for it was damaged in the terrible Christcurch earthquake. This is a national crisis and has been dubbed Marmageddon.

  • Thanks for suggesting the alternate pan sizes – will try this in my 8 x 8″ cake pan. Would you still suggest 20 minutes baking time? (I understand the operative phrase here is “until it’s light golden brown”, but had to ask . . .)

    Many thanks!

  • I’m a beekeeper, so I can never resist a honey cooking challenge! (I can also never resist the words “ginger” and “crunch” used in tandem). My icing cooked up just fine with honey. I have no doubt it changes the flavor, but still, this did not stop me from eating several pieces. I used a light clover honey. I think the only issue is that the honey based icing does not firm up quite as much as with the golden syrup (at least judging from David’s photo). I chilled my slices slightly after cutting just to be sure the icing would stay firm. And since I was experimenting, I also decided to toss in 2 tablespoons of chopped candied ginger into the cookie base. I quite enjoy the random little turbo-blast of ginger it provides. Photo here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/garlicpig/

    Phread – I substitute a light honey in virtually every recipe that calls for light corn syrup. It does change the flavor (though in most cases for the better) and slightly affects texture, but I’ve never had any issue. Though I can’t say I’d sub in Manuka honey!

    • Thanks for your thoughts and your picture (and ‘crunch bars’) look great! Honey is sometimes a good substitute, but as a beekeeper, you know that honey can crystallize so I don’t often recommend it as a swap out for things. (I wrote a post a while back, Why and When to Use (or Not use) Corn Syrup.) But there are many cases when it can be used in place of corn syrup and other sweeteners.

      In this case, golden syrup has a particular flavor that is inherent in many desserts from Australia and New Zealand, and while other liquid sweeteners may be susbstituted, it’s like swapping out olive oil for butter – both are good, but different flavors.

  • I love the sound of this slice, thanks for sharing it. I’m Australian, and have been living in Switzerland for years and years…..
    I substitute Golden Syrup for a product called Tafel Melasse. It’s stocked by most supermarkets in Switzerland (Co-Op, Migros, Denner, etc). I’ve also seen it in Germany. I’ve never looked for it in France, but perhaps it worth taking a look in the jam and honey section in a one of your large supermarkets.

    Véron Melasse 450g
    Switzerland
    Produktintormation
    Zusammensetzunq
    Glukosesirup, Zucker, Melasse (20%), Aquarell (E150d)
    Beschreibung: 450 g net
    Trés bon, SFr: 3.10

    The Gourmet section of Jelmoli and Globus in Zurich stock Golden Syrup, but it so outrageously expensive that I rarely buy it.

    Lucky you, enjoy the Vegimite….though it is rather an acquired taste..

  • David,
    Happy New Year and thanks so much for the free Pastry app.
    Love it!

  • I like Bovril rather than Marmite. Was surprised to find it with the stocks instead of the spreads in England.

  • I’ve never heard of a recipe for ginger crunch and it sounds like just the sort of thing that would go well at a book club meeting! I tend to like more plain “desserts”, but I have a hubby that loves the rich, chocolate ones. Perhaps I can hype the icing on this bar and see if he’ll bite. ;)

  • I have already ordered my golden syrup from Amazon and can’t wait to try these cookies. In this post you also mention “caramel slice”. You wouldn’t happen to have a recipe for those, also?

  • The golden syrup I can buy in Queensland comes in a bottle like honey but it’s the same thing. I still want to call them bars when I go into a bakery and the lady behind the counter says, “bars?”

    This needs to go into the “need to bake” pile.

  • Cynthia: there are lots of recipes for caramel slice online (here’s one: http://nzfavouriterecipe.co.nz/recipes/desserts/594-caramel-slice), although you’ll have trouble finding one with US measurements. It’s delicious, but be warned, it’s wicked rich.

  • As a non-Aussie, I was gently introduced to Vegemite with grilled cheese. It was excellent. Haven’t sought it out since though, I admit!

  • yum – one of my favs. Nothing quite like it with a cuppa! Also really good with chopped crystallised ginger on the top of the icing.

  • Hello David,

    On a totally different topic, I have a question.

    I bought this chocolate bar from the Chocolate Garage in Palo Alto. Do you know this brand? Chocolat Bonnat Voiron (Isere), Ceylan, 75 percent cacao

    It is made in France and I thought you might be familiar with it.

    Thanks and take care in the new year, Carolyn Z

    • Yes, they are located in Voiron, the French alps, near where Chartreuse is made (I wrote about a trip there in one of my books.) If you ever find them, their chocolates filled with liquid Chartreuse are amazing.

  • Btw I am currently licking the freezer bowl of your salted butter caramel ice-cream, it’s fantastic! I’ve made it before (woot an ice-cream maker) and it was really good but I found it to be a little overly sweet, this time it has a slightly burnt caramel taste but it’s not unpleasant at all, it’s lovely, sophisticated and not at all overly sweet, I also reduced one egg yolk but I probably wouldn’t do that again, oh anne this time rind. Have an ice-cream maker! Thank you David, every recipe of yours I try is a delicious success!

  • I saw you on the Today Show this morning discussing the origin of French fries. It was fun to see your kitchen. It looks great.

  • in new zealand often we like to have a slightly thicker icing, which is a little firm, sometimes a little sticky, and as gingery as possible! perfect with a cup of tea!

    the best way to eat vegemite is on buttered vogels toast. coincidentally another kiwi staple!

    come for a visit!!

  • Hi David
    Was that you on NBC this morning talking about the origin of “French” fries?
    Your kitchen looked fantastic (and huge, especially by French standards)
    You don’t know me but I’m coming to Paris this April and if you need any Supplies I can bring things and drop them off for you. I live in Los Angeles and have access to a lot of resources. It may seem like an odd offer from a stranger but its the least I can do after the hours of reading pleasure you’ve provided.
    Steven in L.A.

  • Ha! When I saw that jar of ginger, I thought – that would be delicious in a batch of Skibo Castle Ginger Crunch, which is essentially this, without the tart pan! Addictive is a great word for it. We’ve made multiple batches for the past few Christmases!
    Happy new year!

  • Vegemite might be very Australian but we are more than happy to share. There is never likely to be a shortage given it is a by-product of beer brewing yeasts. I remember getting Vegemite soup when I was sick sometimes growing up. Just stir in a teaspoon or two into hot water until you are happy with the taste, less is often more as the old saying goes, then add chunks of crusty bread. Vegemite makes a superb stock for cooking as well.

    The Ginger Crunch must be great so I’m looking forward to giving it a try soon. Thanks for sharing Jan, I hope you continue to enjoy your time split between OZ and NZ.

  • Thanks David for the blast from the past! I grew up in NZ and my friend and i used to make these as young girls. Her mother could never understand why once it was baked there wasn’t the quantity that the recipe stipulated! That was because we used to eat half of it raw when her mother wasn’t looking! YUM. Thanks for your brilliant blog. xo

  • Hey David,
    If you are a fan of rich hearty gravy, then vegemite is your best friend. Experiment with a bit of leftover beef roast juices, flour if you like that kind of thing, and vehite to taste. It’s wonderful. Like nutritional yeast and vege stock on steroids. Salty, salty steroids. :)

    Alex, from Australia.

  • Oh, the vegemite had nothing to do with the recipe , eh? Love the countertop tub ‘mise’ though!

  • Golden Syrup is available at our local Intermarche. It has been recently available with celebratory labels “Happy and Glorious” and “Proudly British”.
    I use for making gingerbread (one third GS 1/3 black treacle 1/3 honey) and on my breakfast porridge.
    The oven is hot from a batch of soda bread , so am going to make some of these ginger crisps right now.

  • Have you seen the video of you on the Today show?

    http://today.msnbc.msn.com/id/26184891/

  • Mousetraps. Thin toast, buttered, spread with a thin layer of Vegemite and covered with grated cheese before going under the grill for five minutes.

  • Hi David, I believe (as an Aussie) that if you haven’t been fed vegemite by your parents as a child, then it’s very improbable that anyone could grow to like it. I love it and have it almost every day for breakfast on toast. I don’t do anything else with it, except maybe add to a beef stew if I want a beef-ier flavour.
    Nice slice ;)

    • After trying (with little success) to get European friends to like peanut butter, and potato skins, I’ve given up because I think there are some foods that are just culturally specific. And no amount of convincing is going to change what people like, or don’t like.

      However if they’d make peanut butter-flavored Vegemite, and it was smeared on baked potato skins, I might give it another try
      ; )

  • Thanks David for sharing the Ginger Crunch recipe!

    I made it and it tastes delicious. I don’t like icing biscuits because it’s too fiddly for me but this was really easy and it looks great. I will share some with the neighbours tomorrow.

    I agree with Ann – I think you need to grow up with Vegemite to like it.
    I have lived in Australia for over 30 years and tried it many different ways …

    Vegemite and Cricket … it’s still a mystery to me.

  • David – thanks for directing me to you very informative corn syrup post (and for helping to overcome my fear of it!) I am ordering some golden syrup for the pantry too. I’m so intrigued by the slices concept. Can’t wait to experiment a little. Thanks for the inspiration.

  • David, did you get to try Hokey Pokey ice cream? A New Zealand flavored ice cream which is delicious. I’ll bet ginger crunch would work well in ice cream, too.

  • David – a good way to try Vegemite is a thin layer on toast with fresh avocado on top. It has a really lovely savory unami taste and is a bit less full on then Vegemite by itself. I love the stuff (am an Aussie thru and thru) but my less enthused fiance will only have it this way. It is also good added to stews and gravies.

  • Looking for language school walking distance in 7th May 2013. Any suggestions.

    Check out my post, French Classes in Paris. -dl

  • I’m sorry, but I made these and I had to rename them. They will forever be Ginger Crack in my house!

  • Hi David – by coincidence I read this post the evening I landed back in Boston after a long journey home from a 2-week vacation in New Zealand. A wonderful country (my 5th time there) and the Ginger Crunch was definitely a highlight. I sampled three different versions there so I will now have to try this Edmonds recipe – though I don’t think it fits into my healthy eating resolutions! Happy New Year!

  • oh, so making these….

    (and yes, no, no substitute for Lyle’s. which, if there are leftovers, are pretty damn tasty poured straight from the tin.)

    thanks!

    molly